Market News

Greenhouse Made of Recycled 2 Liter Bottles

Last week in our AFM email, was a picture of a plastic bottle green house. I will include this photo again later in this blog. As customers of the Farmers’ market, we assume that you want the best produce. Our vendors want to give you the best also. But the environment belongs to all of us on earth. Chuck Elias and his merry group of Shared Gardners would like to make use of the plastic bottles in Atchison to make one of these greenhouses at the Shared Garden at Chuck Elias’s house.

Bring your 2 liter bottles to the Market for this interesting project. Bring them to the last EAST stall under the cover of the Farmers’ Market. Chuck and his group are very committed to learning ways to help our environment and they are happy to share what they have learned. Spend a few minutes with him; he will show you what can happen with discarded plastics to both sea and land animals. Plastics are NOT biodegradable!! But they can be recycled. Atchison does have a recycle program for plastics; 2 bins are located on west Highway 73 at the north turn-off to Express Lube. Bring your empties to Chuck and help our environment.

The photo shows the entrance to a recycled bottle greenhouse. Each plastic 2 liter bottle is drilled to be threaded onto a 6 foot garden stake. These stakes (with bottles) are lined up to form walls. A wooden door, screens, and corners are attached along with a simple roof.

Market News

Home-made? Really?

In a recent ad on TV, a food company described heating a can of soup as making a “home-made” meal for your family.  A can of soup and a sandwich is not much of a meal (OK maybe a lunch).   And implying that taking an item (already assembled) home to bake it or heat it does not make it “home-made.”  But arguably it may be a strong selling point for a busy Mom or Dad, a guilt reducer.

To me, “home-made” means made from scratch; made by me as I place each ingredient into a pan, bowl or skillet.  Home-made means that I actually know what is going into my dish; I am not a chemist and have no desire to add lactic acid or caramel color.

There are several concerns I have about prepared products (Yes, I do use them at times).  Many prepared products contain too much salt (sodium chloride) and/or sugar (high fructose corn syrup).  I read labels to find ketchup that doesn’t have it, tomato sauce that doesn’t have it, and barbecue sauce without it (my preference is more tang and less sugar).  A friend once told me that shopping for products without high fructose corn syrup (her husband was diabetic) took much longer than it used to before she found out about how many products it is found in.  What is troubling about this is that gradually Americans are getting used to sweet spaghetti sauce, sweet ketchup, etc which suits the corn folks just fine.  If I need corn syrup for a candy or frosting, I can buy it and use it.  In can goods, there is no choice.

As I watch cooking shows, I notice that they season and taste as they cook.  So when I cook I add a bit of salt as I go along but final adjustments can be made by those eating my dish.  Diets of reduced sodium are still prescribed for health reasons and finding canned goods labeled “reduced sodium” are easier to find.  But in general, these products cost more.  Foods high in salt are lunch meats, bacon, sausage, dill pickles, salad dressings, soy sauce, canned soups, cheese, and many more.

My solution is to cook my own meals from scratch.  Start this process 1-2 days a week and plan ahead.  Fresh vegetables just taste best so take advantage of summer produce at the Market.  Use prepared meats sparingly; buy foods without high-fructose corn syrup so the real taste shines through.  Use fresh fruits for the sweet finish to a meal.

Home-made, really!!! Janean Bowen

Market News

Killed Salad aka Wilted Salad

Ingredients:  4 in salad    5 in dressing

Salad:  this can be made ahead.

1 bag (10-16 ounces) salad greens or fresh spinach – wash and dry (I use salad spinner)      2-4 slices of bacon, sliced in 1/4 “, fried til crisp, save the bacon grease in skillet               1/4 sweet onion (like Vidalia) or 3-4 green onions sliced (white and green)                            3 hard boiled eggs

Dressing:  make this just before you want to eat it.

2-3 Tbsp bacon grease in skillet                                                                                                         1 tsp sugar                                                                                                                                               1/2 tsp salt and fresh pepper to taste                                                                                             3-4 Tbsp vinegar (I use cider; do not use flavored vinegar)

Time to put it together:

Put all dressing ingredients in skillet with onion (ad prefer to cook the onion a bit but onion can be left uncooked because it is mild).  Put greens and chopped egg in big salad bowl; mix a little.  Heat dressing to bubbling and very quickly pour over greens and onions while mixing so that you “KILL” lots of greens not just the ones on top.  Mix well and add bacon bits for final stir.


Market News

Who Am I?

I am a Market Customer and have been since it opened in 1999.  Like you, I enjoy cooking and sometimes gardening.  I will always try something new to eat, whether it is dragon fruit (absolutely gorgeous but ho-hum sweet taste) (image by Helga Kattinger from Pixabay),

dragon fruuit.jpgbatter-fried dandelion flowers and dandelion leave salad, or kangaroo (yes, I tried it and it is like wild duck breast).  I even went to a Bug Fair in California and tried a snack mix with crickets and mealy worms in a brownie.  I can prove it but will not likely repeat it.

For me a trip the Farmers’ Market is an adventure; again I look for items I don’t know:  a cup of hot Italian Lavazza coffee is rich and flavorful at Two Hungry Lads.  I had to try kohlrabi at L&R Farms.  It’s a strange-looking green veggie with 4-5 leave stem sites sticking out of it.  Looks like a space alien.  I peeled it (tough skin!) then chunked it, then roasted it with olive oil and salt and pepper then ate it all!  I also cut it in slices and ate like celery or carrot stick with salt.  Really crunchy when raw, nutty when roasted.  Who knew???  Last year, Interbrook Ridge Farm suggested we eat purslane, a common weed in gardens.  I tried it in a salad; it’s kind of tart so goes well with vinegar or lemon-based dressings but it is not a favorite. Garlic scapes (Longview Farm) look like long leaves but have a garlic taste that makes a great spread for French bread or pasta when olive oil and Parmesan cheese is pureed with it.

Then there is eggplant.  I so want to like eggplant; it is so pretty whether it is long and skinny or round and plump.  I have made Eggplant Parmesan, Roasted Eggplant Salad, Baba Ganouj, Eggplant Fritata, Thai Green Curry, and last year at our Kids’ Cooking School, Eggplant Veggie Burger.

My trip to the Market frequently strikes terror in the hearts of my husband and daughter.  I have made pizza using cauliflower and cheese as the crust.  I have made pumpkin ice cream.  I have made sweet potato pancakes.

What am I telling you?  Go to the Market and try something new.  Our vendors often can tell you how to use one or more of their products and frequently have recipes to give you.  Share your experiences and recipes.

Until next time,  Janean Bowen, Foodie